Old residents and new arrivals of Rhagoletis species in Europe.
The genus Rhagoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae) comprises more than 65 species distributed throughout Europe, Asia and America, including many species of high economic importance. Currently, there are three Rhagoletis species that infest fruits and nuts in Europe. The European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (may have invaded Europe a long time ago from the Caucasian area of West Asia), and two invasive species (recently introduced from North America): the eastern American cherry fruit fly, R. cingulata, and the walnut husk fly, R. completa. The presence of different Rhagoletis species may enhance population dynamics and establish an unpredictable economic risk for several fruit and nut crops in Europe. Despite their excessive economic importance, little is known on population dynamics, genetics and symbiotic associations for making sound pest control decisions in terms of species-specific, environmental friendly pest control methods. To this end, the current paper (a) summarizes recently accumulated genetic and population data for the European Rhagoletis species and their association with the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis, and (b) explores the possibility of using the current knowledge for implementing the innovative biological control methods of sterile insect technique and incompatible insect technique.